LAS VEGAS – A patent lawyer from Connecticut beat a Dallas college student to win the World Series of Poker tournament Friday on a final hand worth $5 million.
Both Greg “Fossilman” Raymer and David Anthony Williams finished with a full house, but Raymer, 39, had eights over twos, while Williams had fours over twos. Williams earned $3.5 million for his second-place finish.
Raymer, 39, had built up a monstrous stack of chips during the tournament’s finale, making him the chip leader when he began the final table at Binion’s Horseshoe Hotel &Casino. He then went to work toppling six of his eight competitors.
Williams, 23, knocked out the other two players, including a former World Series of Poker champion.
A field that began with 2,576 entrants May 22 was down to nine Friday afternoon. The game is No-Limit Texas Hold ‘Em, in which a player can risk all his chips with every draw of a card, guaranteeing high-stakes action and big losers.
The final table of the wildly popular poker tournament got under way at the downtown casino after players spent six days battling each other for a chance to be crowned poker king and take home the $5 million first-place prize.
Friday’s nine-person final saw unprecedented action as players repeatedly moved in all their chips, trying to gain the upper hand. But the players were little match for Raymer’s enormous pile of chips, which he wielded like a schoolyard bully.
The first to fall was Mike McClain, 39, of Lemoore, Calif. Minutes later, Mattias Andersson, a 24-year-old Swede and the only foreigner in the final, also was knocked out by Raymer, whose nickname Fossilman comes from his hobby of collecting fossils.
McClain and Andersson went home with $470,400 and $575,000, respectively.
It was then Williams’ turn to be the poker slayer. The youngest player at the table, he used a full house to send home Matt Dean, 25, of Woodlands, Texas. One of four 20-somethings at the final table, Dean finished in seventh place with a $675,000 prize.
Raymer then went to work on Al Krux, a professional poker player from New York state, and Glenn Hughes, a 38-year-old married father of two from Scottsdale, Ariz. Krux left with $800,000, while Hughes walked away with $1.1 million.
The last to leave before a dinner break Friday was 1995 World Series of Poker Champion Dan Harrington, who earned a $1.5 million prize. Williams, the college student, used an improbable second full house to take out Harrington.
Harrington’s fourth-place finish falls just short of his third-place showing last year.
Third place went to Josh Arieh, a 29-year-old professional poker player from Atlanta, who takes home $2.5 million. Raymer knocked him out with three queens to Arieh’s pair of nines.
Greg Raymer celebrates after winning a hand Friday at the final table of the World Series of Poker.